Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Invitation

Have you ever noticed how clearly you can see what is wrong in someone else's life?

And how difficult it can be to see what's going wrong in your own?

You're living your life every day.  Maybe you know that A Bad Thing happened.  Maybe you're aware of the stress causing hardships.  Maybe you know the root cause of the hard times.

But you don't see the choices you are making and how they are impacting your family, your friends, your community.  You don't see that there could be future impact that will bear negative results for a long time.

There's a reason why hindsight is 20/20.  We can look back and see where we made the wrong choice, where we damaged ourselves and others.  We can look back and regret spening that $100 or saying mean words to that friend or not saying no to that request.

But how can we possibly live life each day and get it right so we don't have to use that hindsight?

We can't.

Sorry to be a downer.  The uplifting part is coming, I promise.

There has been an important key to getting through every difficult time that I've endured.

Other people.

While it is possible to get through life on your own, making your own decisions, never seeking connection to others, never considering the people around you... it sure seems like that would be lonely, selfish, and potentially damaging to yourself and others.

I understand privacy.  I also understand shame and pride.

I very much believe that Big Problems and little problems almost always require another person to really solve them.

It might be your spouse.  It might be your sibling.  Your parent.  Your best friend.  Your pastor.  A group of girlfriends.

We aren't designed to handle things alone.  We are programmed to desire connection, support, encouragement, interaction.

So I've established 2 main tenets.  We can't always see the danger zones we are in and we can't solve our problems alone.

Here's my invitation...

To my friends and family who are a regular part of my life (meaning you don't only know me through my blog or through Facebook),

If you know I am going through a hard time...

If you see that I am struggling...

If you see me making dangerous choices...

If you see me hurting others, hurting myself...

Please speak to me.  You don't have to wait until I come to you.  Come to me in a loving and supportive way and let me know that you are concerned about what you are seeing.  Give me the opportunity to think about what you are seeing, to think about what is going on, to respond to your concerns.

Maybe I'm different.  Maybe I'm a nutball.  I know not everyone wants to invite everyone into their lives like that.  But I want to live my life and not cause harm.  If I'm drinking too much, I need help.  If I'm spending too much time away from my family, I need help.  If I'm sad and frustrated more often than not, I need help.  If I am not acting like myself, have given up on dreams and goals, I need help.

And here is the flip side of my invitation.

If you need help... you can come to me.

I will listen and not judge.  I will support and encourage.  I will offer advice, ideas, problem solving but just for the sake of discussion.

If you did something and regret it and don't know how to get out of it - I will help you.

If you're in a difficult place and are letting guilt and shame drive your choices - I will help you.

If you're feeling low, blue, down, sad, angry - I will help you.

I don't have answers for everything.  But there are too many beautiful, vibrant, awesome people in my life that I can see slipping. I hesitate to butt in, to stick my nose into someone else's business.  Which is how we are programmed, how we all operate.  We protect our privacy, we hide our shame or embarassment, we slink away from mistakes we've made.

For me, I want that to be different.  I want the people who love me to be able to speak to me from a place of love and compassion.  I want the people I love to hear me when I come to them with tenderness and concern.

If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.   Dalai Lama 

When you're drowning, you don't say 'I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,' you just scream. 
John Lennon 

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 



Rebecca said...

This is some sage advice because it's oh so true. People too often wonder about being too intrusive so they wait for you to ask them for help and then they think of what will happen to them if they do help but in all reality.....if you see someone in need of help, you just need to reach out your hand and offer your help.

Shell said...

I really admire you for putting this out there. And I hope that people can come to you in love if they see anything going on.

Karen M. Peterson said...

It's true, Liz. Sometimes we need other people to throw us a life preserver and help us get out of our own way. I'm grateful for people who tell me when things don't seem right, rather than just waiting for me to turn to them because I'm never going to just ask for help. I don't like feeling like a burden on anyone.

Leticia said...

Liz, you done made me cry. Thank you for posting this.

Amy said...

I've thought some of the same things. After a very public effort to lose weight and get in shape, I put it all back on and then some. Even if I didn't allow myself to see it (or more truthfully, I allowed myself to ignore it), someone close to me saw it.

My mom did say something a few months ago. Not focused on my weight, but on my health. I wasn't hurt, but I wasn't motivated either. At least I knew that someone was seeing what was happening to me.

Unknown said...

Im in words needed just this: